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History of Tunisia

Tunisia was coveted and populated since prehistory; traces of human presence were discovered in the deep layers of the Paleolithic one. Tunisia was Carthage, the most powerful Civilization of the ancient world.

The Phoenicians founded the Carthage City around the year 814 before JC.

Depuis le XIIe siècle Av. JC, la Tunisie, pont naturel entre l’Afrique et l’Europe et entre l’Orient et l’Occident, entretient des relations surtout commerciales avec les différents pays méditerranéens. Le rayonnement et la prospérité de Carthage, la grande cité fondée en 814 av. JC, ne manque pas de provoquer des rivalités avec l’Empire romain alors en pleine expansion.

Cards of Carthage

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The Elephants of Hannibal in the Alps

264 – 146 before JC. Three wars against Rome – passed with the posterity under the name of “Punic Wars” are committed giving place, also, with the fantastic expedition led by Hannibal which crossed the Alps with its elephants (218-202 before JC). These wars are achieved by the defeat of Carthage.

The beginning of seven hundred years

The fall of Carthage at 2rd century Before JC marks the beginning of seven hundred years of Roman domination during this; Tunisia knows prosperity such as it becomes the “attic” of Rome. The many archeological sites of a great splendor (like Carthage and other one), which strew today the Tunisian landscape, testify to the paramount position that Tunisia occupied within the Roman Empire.

146 – 439 after JC. Establishment of the first Roman colony “Africa”. The country knows a great prosperity. Agriculture and the urbanization develop.

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439 after JC. conquest of Carthage by the Vandals. In a context of anarchy, the Vandals, Germanic people, invaded North of Africa and established a kingdom into 429 after JC. Their domination, limited to the coastal strip, remained however fragile, and the independent Berber principalities could reconstitute itself during this period After having arrived in Tingitane (Morocco), the vandals penetrated in the east. It is noted that in the passing they destroyed the walls of Caesarea (Cherchell) the capital of Mauretania; those of Tipaza were methodically shaved. In Numidia, they appeared to settle: it was the head office of Hippone, where Saint Augustin died. Then in 439 after JC. they set out again and settled in Tunisia where they will remain one century.

Byzantine fortress or Borj de Kelibia

533 after JC. Occupation of Carthage by the Byzantines. 647-698 after JC. at the beginning of Arabo-Muslim epoch. Foundation of Kairouan by Oqba Ibn Nafaa in 670 after JC. and Occupation of Carthage by the Arabs in 698 after JC..

Kairouan City

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After several expeditions, Oqba Ibn Nafaâ arrives in year 50 h / 670 after JC. in Ifriqiya with the decision to assure the Muslims a permanent presence in Maghreb. It founded Kairouan which means camping by obeying strategical considerations of order. In effect, Kairouan is in a day of step of the sea, dominated by the Byzantine. And in a day of step of mountains, dominated by the Berber tribes hostile to Arab presence in Ifriqiya.

The aghlabides pushed their conquest through Ifriqiya and occupied all Maghreb.

800-909 after JC. expansion of Islam and establishment of the Dynasty of Aghlabides (construction of the Zitouna Mosque of Tunis). Kairouan is then the political and intellectual center of the Maghreb.

Big Mosque of Mahdiyya 297 Higra / 910 after JC. The Beginning of the dynasty FATIMO-ZIRIDE in Tunisia. 909-1159 after JC. Dynasties Fatimid and Zirid. Mahdia, founded in 921 after JC. was the capital of the country.

1159-1230 after JC. Almohades unite the Maghreb countries and Moslem Andalusia.

1236 after JC. Hafsides, vassal of Almohades, are declared independent and founded a new Hafside dynasty in Tunis which will reign until 1574 after JC. .

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1574 after JC. Tunisia is annexed to the Ottoman Empire.

1705 after JC. foundation of the Dynasty of Husseinites (déchue on July 25, 1957). 1881-1956 after JC. French protectorate, established on May 12, 1881 after JC. . The resistance anti-colonialism lasts during the entire 75 years French domination. Carried out initially by the party of Destour 1920 after JC. the fight had a new beginning with the party of the Neo Destour starting from 1934 after JC.

Speech of Bourguiba on January 15, 1952

On January 2 1952 after JC. Bourguiba asks the bey to bring the Franco-Tunisian differences to the UNO to internationalize the problem of French domination.
The French colony abuses its powers, and the Tunisian rebellions are severely suppressed. Among these freedom fighters appears Habib Bourguiba, Secretary of Neo-Detour, military party, advocating Tunisian independence. He is several times imprisoned for conspiracy against the State. Pierre Mendès-France who had recognized in 1954 after JC. internal autonomy of Tunisia. Tunisia is definitively independent in 1956 after JC. and its first president is Habib Bourguiba.

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March 20, 1956 after JC. Tunisia obtains its independence.

July 25, 1957 after JC. claim of the Tunisian Republic. Habib Bourguiba becomes president of independent Tunisia.

June 1, 1959 after JC. adoption of the first constitution of the Republic of Tunisia.


5 October 1963 after JC. French troops evacuate Bizerte, their last base in the country.

The constitution of a modern state

Habib BOURGUIBA the 1st President of the Republic of Tunisia (1957-87 after JC.)

“Father of Tunisian independence”

Habib BOURGUIBA is considered as the founder of modern Tunisia. In 1955 after JC. Bourguiba negotiates the independence of Tunisia with the French government of Pierre Mendès-France. Then, from 1957 to 1987 after JC. it aims the country by taking a progressive Islamic policy and keeping good relations with his European neighbours.

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President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

November 7th, 1987 after JC. in accordance with Constitution, the Prime minister, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, succeeds the president Bourguiba, judged by his doctors in inability to continue taking his functions. The president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is elected by the Parliament as president of the Republic.

Tunisia estimates to be a bridge between both coasts of Mediterranean Sea, between the Orient and Occident, between Africa and Europe. The objective of President Ben Ali is to make of this Mediterranean space, a model of co-operation, solidarity and mutual aid to the international scales. Pioneer of the euro-Mediterranean dialogue and the Process of Barcelona, Tunisia has, under the impulse of President Ben Ali taken various initiatives to build the Euro-Mediterranean interdependent, ensuring full development of the people of two banks. The country is so, the first of the south bank of Mediterranean Sea to have concluded an agreement of association, in July 1995 after JC. with the European Union. The president Ben Ali also worked tirelessly at the keeping of a periodical summit of the heads of state of the euro-Mediterranean dialogue regrouping the five States of Arab Maghreb and five other States of the western bank of Mediterranean Sea.

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